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The Hidden Dangers: Why Chlorine is Bad for your Hair

So what are the Impacts of Chlorine on your hair?

Nothing beats the refreshing feeling of cooling off in the pool on a hot day. However, there’s an unseen threat lurking in that inviting water: chlorine. While chlorine is essential for keeping pools free from harmful bacteria and pathogens, it can wreak havoc on your hair.

Here’s why chlorine is bad for your hair and what you can do to protect those precious locks.

1. Chlorine Strips Natural Oils

Your scalp naturally produces oils that protect and moisturise your hair. These oils are crucial for maintaining hair health, providing shine, and preventing dryness. Chlorine, however, is a powerful chemical that strips these natural oils away. Without these oils, your hair can become dry, brittle, and more susceptible to breakage.

2. Causes Dryness and Brittle Hair

The drying effect of chlorine doesn’t stop at the scalp’s oils. When chlorine binds to the proteins in your hair, it causes the hair shaft to become parched and weakened. This leads to a rough, dry texture that can be difficult to manage. If you frequently swim in chlorinated pools, you might notice that your hair starts to feel like straw, making it challenging to style and comb through without causing further damage.

3. Fades Hair Colour

For those who colour their hair, chlorine can be particularly problematic. The chemical reaction between chlorine and hair dye can lead to colour fading and even unwanted colour changes. Blondes might notice a greenish tint after swimming, while other colours can lose their vibrancy much faster than usual. This is because chlorine oxidizes the pigments in hair dye, causing them to degrade.

4. Promotes Split Ends and Breakage

The combination of dryness, loss of natural oils, and a weakened hair structure makes hair more prone to split ends and breakage. Chlorine-damaged hair can develop splits along the shaft, leading to frayed and unhealthy-looking ends. Regular exposure without proper protection can result in significant and noticeable damage over time.

5. Irritates the Scalp

Chlorine doesn’t just affect the hair; it can also be irritating to the scalp. Prolonged exposure to chlorinated water can lead to dryness and itching, and in some cases, can even cause a flaky scalp. This irritation is not only uncomfortable but can also contribute to poor hair health, as a healthy scalp is essential for strong hair growth.

How to Protect Your Hair from Chlorine

While the negative effects of chlorine on hair are concerning, there are steps you can take to minimise the damage:

1. Wet Your Hair Before Swimming: Saturate your hair with clean water before entering the pool. This reduces the amount of chlorine your hair can absorb.

2. Use a Swim Cap: A swim cap can provide a barrier between your hair and the chlorinated water, significantly reducing exposure.

3. Apply a Leave-In Conditioner: Using a leave-in conditioner or a protective hair treatment before swimming can create a protective layer that helps shield your hair from chlorine.

4. Rinse Immediately After Swimming: Rinse your hair thoroughly with clean water as soon as you get out of the pool to remove as much chlorine as possible.

5. Deep Condition Regularly: Incorporate a deep conditioning treatment into your routine to restore moisture and repair damage caused by chlorine.

6. Use Clarifying Shampoo: Occasionally using a clarifying shampoo can help remove chlorine buildup from your hair. Follow up with a moisturizing conditioner to keep your hair hydrated.


While chlorine is necessary for maintaining a safe and clean swimming environment, it’s important to recognize its potential damage to your hair. By understanding the effects and taking proactive steps to protect your hair, you can enjoy your time in the pool without sacrificing the health and beauty of your locks. So, the next time you dive in, remember to take these precautions to keep your hair looking its best all summer long.

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